Building Strong Bodies

Kids and teens, build a strong body with these tips, and parents, if your child or teen would like to "work out" here's a helpful tip sheet! We're going to be quick because we know you want to get moving.

You need three types of exercise to build a strong body:

  1. Heart-Strengthening and Calorie Burning: Exercise experts call this aerobic exercise. Aerobic is just a fancy word for "with oxygen," and simply means that you are getting your heart rate up. Exercising in this way makes your heart along with the other large muscles in your body stronger.
    • How much activity? The very latest guidelines released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that kids need about 30 to 60 minutes most (better yet all) days of the week.
    • Which kinds of activity count? Soccer, basketball, football, tennis, hockey, floor hockey, and other sports you play and practice; riding your bike, walking, swimming, canoeing, skating, roller blading, skipping, playing hopscotch, skiing, snowboarding, dancing, jump rope, Red Rover, King on the Mountain and other active games. (Just to be on the safe side, always ask your parents before you start any new activity or start exercising more.)
  2. Noodle Training or Flexibility and Stretching: Can you touch your toes? If you can, GREAT! Staying flexible is one way to avoid getting strains and sprains when you are active. Stretching is the best way to stay noodle-flexible - and you can do it everyday - even while you are watching television. Some activities also make you more flexible, including yoga, ballet, gymnastics, tumbling and martial arts such as tai chi, karate and tai kwon do. (We don't mean to sound like a broken CD player, but always ask your parents before you start any new activity.)
  3. About Weight Lifting and Strengthening Muscles: You are absolutely right if you think that stronger muscles are good for you and your health. Building strong muscles makes it easier to do just about everything - including sports and chores at home (ugh!). But we're going to leave this one up to the experts where you live - weightlifting experts that is.
    • Why do you need help to lifting weights? Lifting weights the wrong way, or using too much weight can actually hurt your growing muscles more than it can help them. Ask your parents, doctor or coach for help in finding a class about weightlifting or a personal trainer. Some schools have trainers in the weight room just to help you lift properly. Even if you don't play on a sports team, ask if you can use their facility.
    • Everyday activities that build muscles: You can still build muscles if you aren't lifting weights. Try: jump rope, push-ups, sit ups, throwing, pulling and pushing (like vacuuming for your mom), rowing a boat or canoe, swimming and hula hoop. (Here's that broken CD player again: Ask your parents before you start any new activity.)